VEF Riga's star is clearly on the rise. After winning three straight Latvian League crowns, making back-to-back Eurocup Last 16 appearances and coming within a game of the Eurocup playoffs last season, Riga looks to take a major step forward toward becoming a European force as it steps into the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds for the first time. Founded in 1958, VEF has featured some of the best players in Latvian history. Valdis Valters, Igor and Raimons Miglieniks, Gundars Vetra, Janis Krumins, Cezars Ozere and Juris Kalnins all played for VEF between 1958 and 1992, when the club disappeared. VEF finished third in the 1960 Soviet League, the beginning of its first golden age. Krumins decided to finish his legendary career at VEF back in 1964 and the team also had players like Ozere and Kalnins, who played for the Soviet Union at the Olympics. VEF finished third again in 1966, but suffered through some quiet years until Valters joined the team. Valters led VEF to a spot in the 1978 Soviet League. With Valters running the show alongside Vetra and Miglieniks, VEF was fifth in the Soviet League in 1985 and third in 1991. VEF took part in the 1991 Korac Cup and the 1992 Saporta Cup qualifying rounds, but ceased to compete at the highest level soon after that. The club was re-founded in 2007 with Valters as the head coach of his alma mater. VEF's philosophy is to feature the best Latvian stars and prospects, complemented by talented foreigners. The club made it to the Latvian League semifinals and the Baltic League second-division title game in both 2008 and 2009, earning the right to join the first division for the 2009-10 campaign. VEF reached the 2010 Baltic League quarterfinal playoffs and the Latvian League finals, but lost 4-3 against Barons. VEF enjoyed its Eurocup debut in 2010-11, beating eventual finalist Cajasol Sevilla and former champ Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem, but that was not enough to advance past the regular season. With Kristaps Janicenoks, Art Parahouski and Kaspars Berzins as its main stars, VEF upset Lietuvos Rytas to reach the Baltic League title game and beat Ventspils 4-3 in the finals as Bojan Bakic poured in 28 points to win Game 7 on the road for the club's first Latvian League title. Janicenoks helped Riga take a step forward in the 2011-12 campaign, which began with a loss to Alba Berlin in the Euroleague Qualifying Rounds. Riga bounced back to advance one stage in the Eurocup and defend its Latvian crown. It also reached the Baltic League final four and only missed the VTB League playoffs on point differential. Last season shored up its growing reputation by handing eventual finalist Exude Bilbao Basket its worst loss of the season in the Eurocup and narrowly missing the playoffs. It also reached the VTB United League quarterfinals and took care of Ventspils in the Latvian finals. Now the goal is to shine even brighter by reaching the Euroleague.
Latvian National League: 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13